How to Attract Our Future? - Perception of Plastic Surgery Among Medical Students

Published:August 23, 2022DOI:



      There is a mounting body of evidence that underscores the worldwide and US national need for increased plastic surgery recruitment of trainees. Thus, plastic surgery must attract more applicants while maintaining the high-level qualifications of residency candidates.


      Two hundred and fifty (w = 197) medical students rated the prototypical plastic surgeon (PS), general practitioner (GP) and craniomaxillofacial surgeon (CMF) with respect to traits derived from a literature review on general perception of surgery, favorability, and their intention to pursue a respective career.


      Factor analysis yielded two overarching dimensions of prototype perception in addition to femininity and resilience, one reflecting a coldhearted, narcissistic, competitive character (status primacy; SP) and one reflecting role-model-like traits (hard-working, healthy, admired & empathetic). Prototypical PSs scored significantly higher on SP than GPs (t(249) = 18.72, p < 0.001, d = 1.26) and CMFs (t(249) = 5.73, p < 0.001, d = 0.36), while receiving significantly less positive evaluations (GP: t(249) = -9.93, p < 0.001, d = -0.63; CMF: t(249) = -3.52, p < 0.001, d = -0.22). The higher participants rated PSs on SP, the more likely a career in plastic surgery was excluded (OR = 0.71, p = 0.03). An opposite relationship with femininity approached significance (OR = 1.32, p = 0.06).


      Given the growing need for plastic surgeons, worldwide and US national task fields have to overcome the outdated traits and highlight the field's pro-bono engagement. Furthermore, plastic surgery should further expand its leading role in promoting female trainees.


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      Linked Article

      • Letter to the editor: “How to attract our future? – Perception of plastic surgery among medical students”
        Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic SurgeryVol. 77
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          It was with great interest that we read, “How to Attract Our Future? – Perception of Plastic Surgery Among Medical Students”. We commend this work and appreciate its importance given the international shortage of plastic surgeons despite increasing global demand.1 This mismatch will inevitably lead to a decline in the number of academic plastic surgery trainees and the loss of science-driven innovations which enhance our vast specialty. We agree with the authors that a new challenge faced by plastic surgeons is the training of reconstructive techniques among their breast, orthopedic and maxillofacial surgeon colleagues.
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